I got a new DELL Latitude E6440 laptop, and after finding what I thought was the licence key I habitually reinstalled it using a vanilla Windows 7 disc in order to get rid of bloatware.

The installation worked fine, but it turns out the license key I recovered is just some sort of dummy. Instead the key is integrated into the BIOS, and the official way of using it is to use a DELL install disk for installing Windows.

Is there any way to activate Windows with the license that I own without reinstalling?

Alternately, how do I acquire a Danish Windows 7 Professional 64 bit install disk that can do the DELL licence thing?


It turns out that the key I found is just a key for the pre-image. There is a sticker with a different key (located under the battery, which came pre-installed, why would I pick it out?) (thank you CharlieRB). The story about the BIOS key came from some clueless phone support guy in the shop.

  • 1
    Look under the battery. They sometimes put the Windows License Key there.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:09

3 Answers 3


I'm not aware of any BIOS-integrated licenses with Windows 7. You probably have an OEM key, that is something different.

If your device came with Windows 7, it has a license label with the key. The only exception to this general rule is that it is a Windows 8 Pro licensed computer factory-downgraded to Windows 7 Professional. In that case, you will have to contact Dell support to get a valid Windows 7 Professional key or reinstall the factory image.

  • I wasn't aware of any BIOS-integrated licenses with Windows 7 either. That was until I suddenly had a computer with such a license. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 16:59
  • How did you determine this? Usually, the OEM has one preactivated image for each model. This preactivation is indeed BIOS-locked, but is in no way your personal license.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:05
  • OEM keys require a item within the BIOS called the SLIC table. If the BIOS does not have SLIC version 2.1, it cannot be activated via an OEM SLP key. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 13:37
  • Yeah, so? It still doesn’t mean it’s a BIOS-integrated license.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 14:26
  • Computers, which are built by large manufactures that come with Windows Pre-Installed, come with two (2) Product Keys: A) OEM SLP: This key comes pre-installed in Windows. This key Self-Activates. B) COA SLP: This is the Product key that you see on the sticker on the side (or bottom) of your computer. It is a valid product key, but the key must be activated by Phone. (Note: All manufacturers that use the OEM SLP system are required by contract to include a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker).
    – HaydnWVN
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 19:45

How did you record the Windows license key? Was it the "Product ID" that shows up when you press Win+Break? That's not a valid Windows key. Instead, run NirSoft's ProduKey and record the Windows key (as opposed to the product ID).

You can then install that key with


And confirm activation with

slmgr.vbs -dli

If that's what you had actually done, then a last resort solution is described at Activating Windows 7 the OEM way.


As has been said: the OEM image has been pre-activated and (most likely) the key you have on the sticker is an unusable OEM key - it has to be there.

Through many years experience it is most important to make the recovery disks, buy them, or have an image of the machine when you first turn it on.

Trying to use the sticker code to activate will not work in most cases. Period.

Your OEM will not give you a code - you could be anyone. That's why they give you a recovery feature or you can buy disks from them.

Also: even using a key finding software won't give you a valid key to use before you reformat.

If you try to install Windows using a normal disk then you will (in almost all cases) have to buy a retail key.

The logic for this answer is simple: if you don't make the recovery disks for your machine then either way you will be buying them or buying a fresh Windows license to then use your own disk.

  • 2
    Well, from my experience, that’s completely wrong. The label code will always work. Because it’s not an OEM key. Keys extracted from a preactivated system will not work.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 18:00
  • It has to be the correct version of Windows, including architecture and language, you might have gotten that mixed up. In this specific case the sticker key worked. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 18:34
  • I've worked on a Medion PC in the past where the key on the sticker wouldn't activate and the key I extracted also didn't work. Used the exact same version of Windows 7. The only thing that did work was to buy the recovery disks. Spoke to Microsoft and the key on the sticker they verified as being an OEM and they directed me to the manufacturer (as expected). Medion said they were unable to provide a key as their images are pre-activated (as expected). How does one propose I should continue that wouldn't involve buying the recovery disks or a new retail license?
    – Kinnectus
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 21:17

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